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March 25, 2017

The Numerology and Emotion of Environmental Cancer Denial: “Bad Luck” is In, Genetic Determinism Out

Filed under: Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 12:26 pm

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The hypocrites are at it again. Today the mainstream media is touting with great fanfare a new review claiming to have pinpointed the alleged “bad luck” incidence of cancer at 66%, relegating genetic determinism to a lowly 5% and allowing the rest to environmental factors.
 
These goofy pseudo-precise numbers are one half of what’s really a confused public relations presentation on the part of the science establishment and the corporate media. For them science is a mish-mash of emotive communications and the numerology of hyper-precise figures, which is what we have here. As usual, the mainstream media follows the lead of the scientists.
 
This is not actually a new study, but rather the kind of analysis of existing data which pro-corporate scientists disparage when it produces results they don’t like. In this case, it’s a review of a review. The original review in 2015 used statistical rigmarole to claim that most cancers are the purely random result of mutations during cell division and have no other cause. (The same scientists and fanboys who like this notion then turn around and deny that the very high incidence of mutations during any normal genetic engineering procedure is any kind of problem.) But to the discomfort of the researchers, this claim was widely disliked among the public at large. So they took the original back into the shop, made some cosmetic changes, and now have rolled it out with a new coat of paint.
 
The problem, as the researchers and their supporters are emphasizing today in the media, is that the first study allegedly was misunderstood. By this they mean they flubbed the propaganda presentation. So they needed a do-over. Here’s the opening words of a Science commentary published in tandem with the revamped paper:
 

It is a human trait to search for explanations for catastrophic events and rule out mere “chance” or “bad luck.” When it comes to human cancer, the issue of natural causes versus bad luck was raised by Tomasetti and Vogelstein about 2 years ago. Their study, which was widely misinterpreted as saying that most cancers are due neither to genetic inheritance nor environmental factors but simply bad luck, sparked controversy.

 
The fact is that throughout this entire presentation, starting with the 2015 original model and continuing today with the remake, the scientists have been unable to avoid talking in philosophical and political terms. This is inherent to the “bad luck” thesis as such, and to all cancer science which seeks to obfuscate cancer’s true environmental causation.
 
Contrary to the quote above, there was no “misinterpretation”, nor do media popularizers dumb down or sex up the allegedly complex, nuanced things the scientists are saying. The fact is no one propagates the cult of any group of “experts” more relentlessly than the experts themselves. The mainstream media just follows the experts’ lead. As it must, since the media receives all its propaganda themes from the experts themselves. The most inveterate and reckless popularizers are always the experts themselves.
 
This time they’ll try to do a better job of coaching the media: “While Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s first paper led to no less than a few hundred papers written in response, their new study appears to be more soothing to the nerves.” That’s what CNN sees in its crystal ball, which reflects back the researchers’ hopes for this time around.
 
The piece goes on to quote a scientist ally of the research:
 

“I was concerned about the last article, because it didn’t talk enough about prevention and it left people thinking, ‘Gee you’re just destined to get cancer and you can’t do anything about it,'” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Brawley, who was not involved in the research said he was “much happier” with the current paper, even if it “doesn’t tell me anything I hadn’t known for the last 20 years.”

“Bert Vogelstein is an incredibly well-respected, well-known cancer biologist who published a paper very similar to this — you might even call it part one of this paper — two years ago,” said Brawley, explaining the original paper caused “quite a stir” because it implied that “almost all cancers were not preventable.”

“And it really upset the anti-smoking people, it upset the folks who are in the nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention — he really upset the prevention crowd,” said Brawley, who believes the new paper is generally a better explanation of the original theory.

 
This sums up the problem with the original roll-out and is characteristic of the refurbished marketing. Now everyone’s on message in terms of adding politically correct disclaimers about how “lifestyle still matters”, even though they’re really claiming it doesn’t. Meanwhile in their disclaimers they’re focusing completely on mostly voluntary factors like smoking and sun exposure while eliding involuntary exposures like pesticides.
 
So the orchestration they’re attempting is to put over their formal “bad luck” statistical artifice (Brawley himself in the CNN piece calls it a “mathematical simulation”) while informally contradicting themselves by paying lip service in the media to some environmental factors while saying nothing about others. In this way they hope to do a better job of carrying out their mandate under the corporate science paradigm.
 
 
Establishment cancer research has long had the mandate to find that cancer is caused predominantly by non-environmental factors. This is necessary for the continuation of the corporate project, since if the people fully understood how corporate poisons were causing the modern cancer pandemic this might rouse them to overthrow corporate rule and even capitalism itself.
 
So the basic mission and problem is to suppress the theory and evidence of environmental causality. For a long time corporate normative scientists preferred genetic determinism as their go-to alleged primary cause of cancer. This is part of their general ideological commitment to biological determinism. (This in turn is an epigone of 19th century mechanism in physics; this biological version of the disproven physics was itself already disproven early in the 20th century but remains the mainstream scientific standard to this day.)
 
But the genetic theory has been so thoroughly debunked that even the mainstream is looking for an alternative. One candidate has been the “bad luck” theory, that cancer is caused by allegedly “random” mutation.
 
 
The first Tomasetti/Vogelstein paper itself was debunked scientifically. This subsequent study analyzing the original found that intrinsic factors can account for only as much as 10-30% of the incidence of cancer, while as much as 90% of cancers are caused by such extrinsic factors as industrial and agricultural poisons.
 
Little by little the environmental causation paradigm favored by the World Health Organization’s IARC and other bodies is gaining ground, as the evidence becomes more and more difficult for corporate establishment medicine and science to deny. But as we see in the media today, they’re doing their best to trump up whatever they can in the corporate defense. “Bad luck” is the theme du jour.
 
The trouble is that they also need to kowtow to both popular prejudice about how people “deserve” what they get, and they need to reckon with simple rationality whose default is that effects have causes. Science, of course, depends completely on the premise of causality. This has put the pro-corporate researchers in a predicament, and therefore they’re trying to say two different, inconsistent things at the same time: Cancer mostly is caused at random, and yet it also has tangible causes, and at any rate can have tangible solutions.
 
This has some grotesque results. For example, the paper defines free radical causation as “random”, and the researchers suggest that “special antioxidants” may someday help prevent this.
 

There are four ways that cells randomly mutate during cell division. One of them, called reactive oxygen species or “free radicals” could theoretically be reduced by exposing cells to special antioxidants. Vogelstein says a better understanding of these mutations could open up areas of research to develop these kinds of antioxidant preventative therapies.

 
In reality much of the incidence of free radicals in the body is caused by environmental factors such as smoking, fried foods, exposure to pesticides such as glyphosate or excessive unconverted beta carotene in the diet, such as likely would occur in most diets with a large proportion of “golden rice”.
 
This fraudulent depiction of oxidative stress as “random” is typical of corporate science. By contrast, the WHO’s IARC considers oxidative stress as one of the environmental factors causing cancer and applies this to its assessments of pesticides and other cancer agents. There we see one methodological divide between real science and fake corporate science, and an example of why the corporate scientific establishment despises the IARC.
 
(The bit about special therapies is standard by now: Existing low-tech, low-maintenance solutions which are known to work are simply ignored, while only high-maintenance, highly expensive, low-performing technological “silver bullets” are touted as possible “solutions”*.)
 
 
As for the numbers, we see the typical absurdity, the intellectual cul de sac of the corporate science establishment. 66%! Not 65, not 67, 66, get that number of angels dancing on the head of a pin right! All they did was play with numbers, but such research reifies numbers to the point that the researchers think they can arrive at a “real”, precise number, rather than a range like “probably 60-70%.” We see how establishment science indulges in the same mystification of fictive numbers as the entire system under Mammon, which reifies such fictions as GDP, GNP, stock prices, housing prices, corporate profit, money as such, as if those things are real. We see how today’s scientism cult is a branch of the Mammon religion.
 
(The 5% number for genetically determined cancer is probably in the ballpark, and the paper’s relative accuracy here may evince the researchers’ competitiveness vis fellow corporate normative teams who want to defend the genetic ideology. As for the pseudo-scientific precision of “66%”, it’s appropriate to the methodology of this study, which is nothing more than typical statistical manipulation helped along by fraudulently defined experimental and control groups.)
 
So far most skeptics are still mired in this same numerological paradigm. They understand that the corporate numbers are fake, but they still have faith that the “real” precision number does exist somewhere out there. Most haven’t yet reached the consciousness that the numerology presupposition is wrong in the first place. Science can identify only ranges of probability, not precise pinhead counts.
 
 
As for “bad luck”, like I corrected the quote above, this is not misunderstood by anyone. On the contrary, the only misunderstanding would be actually to believe in the alleged “randomness” of all these mutations, such that it would follow that the more cell divisions, the more cancer one would expect in a straight, two-variable manner. That’s the contention of this line of argument.
 
But the fact is they have done nothing to delineate true experimental and control groups, and they have literally zero idea how much environmental influence there is on these allegedly “random” mutations. They themselves admit that in cases such as smoking the influence can be quantified. But this is only a most glaring example, and one where they’ve largely surrendered the political fight on behalf of the corporate honor, especially since capitalism has largely been successful in pegging lung cancer from smoking as an individual recklessness rather than the result of systematic corporate marketing and government subsidies.
 
Reason teaches us that the same causality exists for all the influences, especially industrial and agricultural poisons like pesticides, the defense and justification of which currently is a core campaign of the scientific establishment.
 
This kind of research has done nothing to delineate true experimental and control groups. To do that an experiment would have to remove all groups from the environment as such. Indeed, when pressed pro-poison activists often throw up their hands and admit it’s impossible to perform an experiment without all the groups being subject to the corrupted environment, and therefore it’s impossible to perform truly rigorous science. It’s the same as when they claim, as they regularly do, that it’s impossible to recruit technically competent personnel for regulatory panels and such who don’t also work for industry. In both cases their contention is that we the people should therefore give up, surrender all hope of legitimate study or oversight, and submit to the most authoritarian extremes of simply believing and doing what we’re told.
 
It’s true that we the people must relinquish false belief in the corporate regulatory and science establishment. But the answer isn’t to surrender to their false authority. Quite the contrary. We must demolish and abolish completely the authority of those who help to force cancer upon us, as part of abolishing the cancer poisons themselves.
 
 
 
 
*Consider these axioms of today’s scientific establishment, the “normal science” it consistently sets out to “prove”:
 
“Profitable products cannot be toxic or harmful to human health. Only things available freely from nature and labor are toxic.”
 
“High maintenance, high energy consuming, highly expensive procedures work better than low maintenance, low energy, inexpensive solutions.”
 
“The right solution to any problem is to escalate the status quo.”
 
Are any of these rationally plausible? They are not. Quite the contrary, as we know from how evolution works. But as is made abundantly clear on a daily basis, today’s scientists, engineers, their media flacks, and their fanboys all are evolution deniers.
 
 
 
Help propagate the new and necessary ideas.
 
 
 
 

March 24, 2017

All of Today’s Establishment Science is Ghost Written

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And sustain your business’s “science” that way.

 
 
Last week we contemplated the revelations coming out the Monsanto cancer litigation. Monsanto has been forced by the court to divulge much hitherto secret information about its propaganda machine and how it has sought to cover up the facts about glyphosate’s cancerousness. The new information especially reinforces our longstanding knowledge of the real character of regulators like the EPA. Such regulatory agencies are indelibly pro-corporate and can never serve the people the way the good civics textbooks claim. They were designed to do the opposite, to assist corporate organized crime in looting and poisoning the people and destroying the environment.
 
Among the new proofs of what we already knew are the Monsanto e-mails crowing about their practice of getting academic scientists to put their names on papers written by Monsanto PR flacks. They call it “ghost writing”. Monsanto cadres discussed several specific examples including a pathologist at New York Medical College. Embarrassed that one of its prostitutes has been caught in the act, NYMC is scrambling to cover its tracks and promises to investigate the good doctor. Of course the kind of organization which doesn’t let it be known implicitly that such corruption is acceptable wouldn’t be the one caught sheltering it.
 
 
This is just de jure corruption, the more superficial kind. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
 
What’s vastly greater and more profound is the inertia of the scientific establishment as such, which works predominantly to reinforce prevailing “scientific” dogmas. This is what Thomas Kuhn called “normal science”. These dogmas in turn are dictated by the elite power interests of a society. Under corporate rule, Western society exalts the corporate science paradigm.
 
Therefore, in a broader, deeper sense Monsanto and its fellow oligopoly corporations “ghost write” the entire establishment agenda for toxicological and cancer research, and the paradigm of “science” deployed by regulators. Even mavericks like Seralini tend to define themselves as reformers within this corporate normative framework.
 
But history proves that nothing short of scientific and social revolution can overthrow such entrenched, sclerotic, malign frameworks.
 
 
For a compendium of the fraudulent “science” of glyphosate deployed in publications written by industry and used as religious gospel by regulators, see the new report “Buying Science”.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

March 17, 2017

The Regulators’ Rearguard Fight for the Cancer Poisons

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Where Gothic really does mean death.

 
 
Today we live in fear of cancer, one of the great and insidious fears deeply delving, haunting the civilized psyche. We know that the power structures ranging uncannily above us like storm clouds, pelting us unpredictably with rain and winds, are insinuating this cancer through the industrial poisons they pump into our air, water, and food. We know this adds up to an existential incarceration and we fear we’re on death row. People don’t know what to do, which is why denial is the most common response. To those who struggle to overcome denial, the corporate state directs its propaganda campaigns.
 
The most directly potent cancer agents are the agricultural poisons. Humanity has no choice but to come together as a movement dedicated to abolishing these poisons. Nothing less can liberate us from the fear and the reality of cancer. So far this movement does not yet exist, only the necessary idea for it.
 
Once in awhile one of these poisons becomes the subject of a political flash point. Today glyphosate, one of the most cancerous agricultural poisons, is under fire. Even some governments and other system forces have been cutting ties with it. Where this happens we abolitionists must urge all effective anti-poison actions and use the situation for the greatest benefit to the necessary ideas and to organizing for these ideas. But we must never regress to faith in discredited enemy organizations. Thus where we have evidence of discord at the EPA we use it to demonstrate that the evidence against the poisons is so extreme that even within the ranks of the enemy some are losing faith. But we must never give aid and comfort to reactionary notions about wanting to “reform” the regulator, or any version of wanting to resurrect faith in it. This is the main preoccupation of gatekeeper consumerist groups who really seek a deal with the corporations.
 
In the US the EPA has been the leader organizing and propagating lies and misinformation about glyphosate. This is a permanent EPA campaign which continues regardless of any merely cosmetic change of presidential administrations. All US presidents from Reagan onward have agreed to the EPA’s suppression of its knowledge that glyphosate causes cancer. All US presidents are therefore conscious, willful accomplices to this campaign of murder.
 
The EPA has been forced into damage mode by the rising tsunami against glyphosate. From the mainstream point of view, the milestone was the 2015 finding of the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency (IARC) that glyphosate causes cancer. According to secret Monsanto memos forced into the public light by ongoing litigation, the EPA tipped off Monsanto about the IARC’s upcoming finding and helped Monsanto prepare an attack. This included EPA officials working to prevent an investigation of glyphosate’s cancerousness by the Department of Health and Human Services, and academics agreeing to have their names placed on “scientific” papers actually written by Monsanto public relations cadres.
 
In April 2016 the EPA publicly released a document declaring glyphosate to be “unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans”, then withdrew it from public view. The memo publicly existed just long enough for Monsanto to tout it as an EPA formal public opinion. The EPA implicitly endorses this Monsanto characterization even as it claims the memo was posted inadvertently. This clearly is a lie.
 
What’s really happening is that the evidence of glyphosate’s cancerousness is so overwhelming that the EPA is scared to defend this position in full public view. Seeing how badly the EU’s EFSA has been floundering in public since its own formal declaration in 2015, the EPA has been unable to assemble a propaganda package it feels comfortable defending. That’s why it’s been stonewalling and resorting to such tricks as now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t with public releases. This has been nothing but an innuendo campaign meant to prop up the pro-glyphosate status quo without actually having to make a formal public declaration. The EPA knows it can never plausibly defend any such declaration, since it’s in the nature of the brazen pro-glyphosate lie that it can have no plausible content or evidence to justify it.
 
We’ve been getting more details about the EPA’s internal angst. According to a secret EPA memo leaked to a French magazine, there’s an internal dispute about the agency’s campaign to whitewash glyphosate. The EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) accuses the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP, the division which released and then suppressed the April 2016 memo) of using a reductive, anti-scientific measure instead of the internationally agreed scientific measure. All agencies including the EPA agree in principle to use a scale of five levels in assessing the cancerousness of a chemical, ranging from “carcinogenic” to “unlikely to be carcinogenic”. (The WHO’s cancer agency found glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen”, the second most severe ranking.) According to the ORD’s memo, in practice the OPP drops this and applies a reductive Yes/No measure rigged always to give a No answer.
 
The OPP refuses to divulge the methodology it uses. This is because it really uses no method at all. It only starts with the dogma that it will whitewash the chemical, then engages in whatever convolution is necessary to reach this conclusion. Evidently these methodological convolutions are so contorted as to be laughable, which is why the EPA is refusing to release and stand by a public proclamation.
 
Meanwhile the EU continues to brazen ahead. Its Chemical Agency (ECHA) released its own declaration whitewashing glyphosate. This was written by a pro-industry panel in imitation of the prior BfR/EFSA declaration, which by the BfR’s own admission was nothing but a rewrite of a paper written by the Glyphosate Task Force, a de jure industry group. We see how in Europe the conveyor belt from Monsanto’s PR department to a regulatory finding has been completely mechanized, while the EPA’s procedure is more clumsy in action.
 
Nevertheless the EPA’s intent and result is the same: Whitewash glyphosate. Prop it up as long as possible. EPA performs this role most directly on behalf of Monsanto, the politically powerful corporation most precariously dependent upon glyphosate.
 
More broadly the EPA and its European counterparts have an ideological and power-conserving mandate to defend the entire regime of poison-based agriculture and maximize the use of poison. Therefore every fight for a particular high-profile poison is also the fight for all poisons.
 
Conversely, abolitionists must fight every particular cancer poison, which means all pesticides, and turn every fight against one poison to the fight against all poisons.
 
 
 
 
 
Help propagate these ideas.
 
 
 

May 6, 2016

GMO/Poisoner Summary, May 6th, 2016

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*Dole knew for over a year that its plant had a listeria outbreak and was lethally contaminating its food products. It kept this secret and would have continued to do so if inspectors hadn’t uncovered the poisoning. This is standard corporate practice, and any corporation can always be counted upon to tell any such lie necessary. The entire scientific, regulatory, and media paradigm of modern civilization, completely dependent as it is upon the religious faith that corporations can be trusted to tell the truth about themselves, is a pure lie, and all that follows from this paradigm is nothing but lies.
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The example also proves yet again that the centralized structures of corporate agriculture and food are designed to maximize the incidence and severity of food disease outbreaks. This is in addition to the systematic Poisoner campaign and the systematic campaign to incubate pandemics in shantytowns (generated by corporate agriculture’s mass expulsion of the people from their lands) and CAFOs.
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*Get your Roundup label campaign packs from Global Justice Now. They had their chance to be honest. Now we the people must force them to come clean completely.
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Here’s a real label, stamped directly on the poison, directly by the people.
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*Members of the European Parliament are condemning the European Commission’s “compromise” proposal to re-licence glyphosate for ten years instead of fifteen. No compromise offered on the unlimited poisoning of agricultural zones, public parks, playgrounds, backyards, and so on. By now a ban on park and residential use is the bare minimum among decent human beings, and this is only the first step to be followed shortly by a complete ban on agricultural use.
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*Our upstanding, respectable people aren’t phased by that kind of trivia, but may become upset to learn their fine wines are loaded with the cancer juice. That’s why an ABC news report on California wines loaded with glyphosate residue is being censored by the network. The ABC news page is now “Page Not Found”.
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*Aspiring eugenicists have been trying to synthesize the smallest possible genome, allegedly stripped down to minimum essentials. They sought to strip away all seemingly extraneous sequences leaving only those necessary to the basic self-sustaining functions of the cell. But against all expectations they ended up with a genome one third of whose genes are evidently necessary but whose function can’t be discerned. They’d expected, according to the theory they started out with, a maximum of 5-10% of the genes being of this character. Once again alleged GE “science” is left debunked and confused. My favorite part – the scientific theory didn’t work, “So the team took a different and more labor-intensive tack, replacing the design approach with trial and error.” Just like with the entire genetic engineering endeavor.
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The long run goal is to be able to engineer purely functional (in an economic sense) animals and humans. So they’re experimenting with genetic minimalism – how much “extraneous” stuff can they dispense with and still have a functional organism. Like figuring out the absolute minimum needed to feed slaves to keep them “efficiently” working.
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*Here’s the latest in the long line of studies debunking the Bt “precision” lie, again proving the universal truth of all pesticides from hot pepper to the most virulent synthetic: All indiscriminately harm beneficial insects. This is the intended goal of insecticides, to kill insects as such. The only difference is the degree of potency. Concentrated Bt poison in GMO crops cells is one of the more indiscriminately toxic. We can expect RNAi insecticidal crops to be at lease as imprecise and indiscriminate.
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The study also adds to the already conclusive evidence on how multiple poisons in combination add up to greater lethality than the sum of the individual poisons. But, much like with formulations compared with “pure” primary poisons, synergy effects should be cited only in special circumstances. For everyday combat, it’s best and strongest to emphasize the fact that each of the poisons, including and especially the so-called “active”, primary poison, is lethally toxic to all animals including humans and must be banned. This fact, always coupled with its companion fact that the whole paradigm of pesticide-based agriculture doesn’t work, will be most lethal to the enemy’s endeavor.
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*Here’s the latest result of the GMO cartel’s campaign to eradicate all non-GM seeds: Punjab wants to promote indigenous desi open-pollinated cotton, but the seeds aren’t available.
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Organizations like Navdanya and seed conservationists like Debal Deb have preserved and continue to grow desi varieties, though they don’t have the stock to immediately supply a large demand. But if they were given a big state order, they could quickly do a seed increase.
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*We just saw an example of the economic suppression of non-GM seeds and genetics. Meanwhile the campaign of biological suppression through GM contamination of true crops continues. Canadian organic alfalfa farmers continue to resist the commercial deployment of Roundup Ready alfalfa, with the fight focusing especially on Prince Edward Island. Alfalfa is an insect-pollinated perennial and is therefore prone to rapid cross-pollination and subsequent contamination. This contamination is a primary intended goal of governments and Monsanto in deploying this false poison-based crop. A proximate goal is to render the existing certification structure for organic meat and dairy impossible by wiping out non-GM hay as a feed. From there the only possibilities are to let GMOs into the organic certification, or else let the organic sector die out completely. Monsanto will be happy either way.
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The Canadian government engages in the standard Orwellian lies, claiming to champion “choice” when the conscious goal is to eradicate all choice. We have decades of data on how seed sector concentration and genetic pollution destroy seed choice. Everyone knows this and it’s not possible to be mistaken about it. Any pro-GMO activist who touts “choice” is a willful liar.
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*Here’s a good two-fer, phony climate change concern and skillful use of the old scapegoat-the-farmer. Of course in reality industrial agriculture as such is by far the worst driver of climate change and cannot be reformed, can only be abolished.
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*Is the Obama administration being so aggressive and obnoxious in its pro-corporate thuggery that it’s going to force Europe, against the desire of the EU government and most of the member state governments, to reject the TTIP globalization pact? There’s increasing reason to think the combination of public protest and tyrannical US/corporate behavior may deep-six the vile thing.
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Here we are over two years past the time the US and EU were expecting to have this thing all wrapped up and enacted (even longer for the CETA, the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement), and it’s still in the arduous negotiation stage precisely because the corporations and the US government are so all-at-once totalitarian about it. That’s even though the “harmonization” (Gleichschaltung) provisions are designed to accomplish all the corporations could ever want, just more gradually.
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I even have some optimism that the whole thing will collapse and not be enacted, precisely because the US is being so openly belligerent and totalitarian about it, to the point even of making the EU governments leery. At any rate US brazenness has rendered the European political environment more and more hostile toward these surrender pacts.
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Rejecting the TTIP will be a great boon for Europe. Unfortunately at best this will only partially help the American people if the US corporate government goes ahead with the TPP.
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The enemy’s also going for all-or-nothing as far as the legitimacy of “science”. These globalization pacts include provisions officially enshrining as law the notion that science is to be defined according to corporate imperatives. We the people either will have to accept the steel bars of the law, “science is what the corporations say it is”, or else completely reject the legitimacy of establishment “science” across the board.
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May 4, 2016

The EPA Parrots Monsanto

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The EPA posted online, then took back down, its laundered regurgitation of the Monsanto marketing department’s decree against the fact that glyphosate causes cancer. In reality glyphosate causes cancer as confirmed by all the science, this confirmation summed up by the WHO’s IARC in 2015. We now have the EPA’s own parroting of the EU’s earlier rubberstamp of industry lies. The fact is that the WHO’s cancer agency consulted all the science and nothing but the science, while the EPA, the German BfR, and the EU’s EFSA have literally zero science on their side and throw out all the legitimate science. They “assess” nothing but Monsanto’s marketing materials. In fact, among several other EPA documents posted and then taken down at the same time were summaries of three 2015 EPA consultations with Monsanto and a Monsanto slide show for EPA officials.
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Why did EPA post the thing now and then immediately retract it as “not yet final” when every page says “FINAL”? No doubt it was timed to influence the upcoming European vote on the relicensing of glyphosate. But why not post it and leave it up? This seems to indicate a lack of confidence at EPA, or maybe a lack of consensus on how to carry out pro-Monsanto strategy and tactics. Whatever’s going on with these idiots, they seem clumsy. If the idea is to bolster the EFSA’s political credibility with European state ministers by giving the EU’s agency EPA backup, how is this goal attained if the EPA immediately undercuts its own credibility by immediately retracting its own “final” report? According to the EPA’s own account they were incompetent and confused, as they claim they “inadvertently” posted all these documents, including stamping “FINAL” on every page of a report which they now claim is “not yet final”. All that’s been proven here is that the EPA can’t keep its own story straight for even a few hours, and that it lacks confidence in its own ability to sustain its contradiction of the fact that glyphosate causes cancer. It can get hard sometimes, committing crimes against humanity by systematically lying about these crimes.
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April 29, 2016

GMO/Poisoner News Summary April 29th, 2016

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*Whistleblower Ray Seidler, formerly of the EPA, condemns the EU’s imminent approval for import in food and feed of two types of soybeans engineered to be tolerant of glyphosate plus, respectively, dicamba and isoxaflutole. These pesticides are at least as toxic as glyphosate and inflict the same severe health detriments on humans, animals, and the ecology. Both are genotoxic and are endocrine disruptors at low doses. Both are organically toxic and cause birth defects, neurodisease, and cancer
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These “second generation” GMOs (exactly the same in every way as the old GMOs) are destined primarily for European CAFOs. Much of what drives the pesticide and GMO machine, in terms of “demand”, is the factory farm system which in turn is sustained by the demand among consumers for cheap meat. The vegans are right that this consumer demand is not a law of consumer nature, but has been instilled by propaganda and indoctrination. It follows logically that there’s the possibility of a strong alliance between poison abolitionists and vegans who want to abolish CAFOs. Factory farms themselves are major poison sources and destroyers of public health (via their systematic creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the rampant water and air pollution they generate), while any knowledgeable vegan would know that CAFOs exist in large part to serve as a consumption maw for the productionism of poisons and monoculture grain, and therefore one can’t target just one link in the chain of industrial agriculture, but must target the whole evil structure for abolition.
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CAFOism is the best direct refutation of the “Feed the World” Big Lie, with its strange notion that the way to produce food for people is to take 10 calories of grain and turn it into one calorie of meat. This seems to be a convoluted way of destroying food instead of feeding people. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to engineer the crops to spontaneously combust in the field prior to harvest? It also provides a window on the alleged intellectual prowess of our scientists and engineers. With that grasp of arithmetic, how did they ever get out of kindergarten, let alone attain doctorates? I must question the integrity of our the entire educational system.
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*The UK government has approved the field trial of GM camelina engineered to produce extra Omega-3 fatty acids. Ravaged butterflies demonstrate how toxic this false crop is. As with every other GMO, it’s a false pretense for a false purpose. It’s meant to be fed to factory farmed fish. These diseased fish (also soon to be genetically engineered, if the FDA and AquaBounty get their way) consistently escape from their pens and contaminate the wild populations the fish CAFOs are supposed to be sparing. Massive, concentrated waste from factory fish farming also pollutes the water and aquatic ecosystems. It all goes round and round. It’s clear that industrial fishing as such is unsustainable and anti-ecological.
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As per the law of “product quality” GMOs, there’s no need for this product even if it did work and wasn’t toxic. As with golden rice and other such worthless products, the main purpose of fish-oil GMOs is a propaganda purpose, to tout the idea of GMOs which are something other than poison plants and which would do something other than maximize the use of agricultural poisons. Of course in practice any of these GMOs, if they were ever commercialized, would come only in Bt and/or herbicide tolerant forms. They would have the exact same socioeconomic and ideological goals as bad old Roundup Ready corn and soybeans.
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Each high-profile field trial, no matter how pointless in itself, is a propaganda exercise. It’s meant to continue to normalize the GMO ideology as such, and is also meant to continue to impress upon the people the sense of the alleged inevitability of GMO domination.
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*I’ve long argued that from a business point of view Oxitec looks more like a stock pump-and-dump scam than anything else. Analysts and investors are now drawing the same conclusion.
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*I’m hearing the sirens already: The DARK Act will be up again in July or sooner. Aren’t people getting sick of this? Meanwhile with each iteration of the alleged crisis I become less convinced of the substance of the labeling idea as such and more convinced that for too many people the very idea of “labeling” is becoming a fetish which doesn’t need to have any substance, much like the idea of GMOs is for the techno-cultists. How else does one explain the disregard most people have for the actual content of any prospective labeling policy, how little they care about the inherent weaknesses and likely frauds in the way any labeling policy would ever be enforced, or the continued desire on the part of many for the aggressively pro-GMO FDA of all things to be in charge of labeling? To say the least, there’s an extreme dissonance between claiming to be against pesticides and GMOs but for increasing the power of the FDA which is pro-pesticide and pro-GMO to its core. (In a similar outbreak, all the “food safety” NGOs supported Big Ag’s “Food Safety Modernization Act”, which does indeed seek further to entrench and empower modern corporate notions of “food safety”.)
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The only way to explain it is to theorize that many people think there’s two different FDAs and can conceive one or the other as the situation calls for. But in reality there’s only one FDA and it’s pro-GMO. There must be a manifestation of state-worship at work here. Two opposite FDAs at once: The irrationality of this indicates it’s a religious phenomenon. But the government and its corporations hardly comprise a proper object of worship, if worship is what one feels the need to do.
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March 4, 2016

GMO News Summary March 4th, 2016

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*As we discussed last week the EU government shows what it thinks of the WHO-acknowledged fact that glyphosate causes cancer by calling for the re-approval of glyphosate in Europe for the next 15 years. This isn’t just an ongoing crime at the most monumental human and environmental level, but it even violates EU de jure law. (The latter is more important to most people who care at all.) The 2009 EU pesticides law requires that carcinogenic pesticides be banned.
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Six European NGOs are now suing on the grounds that the German BfR and EU’s EFSA also broke the law in the tendentious way they reassessed glyphosate, in particular the way they whitewashed the WHO’s finding that glyphosate causes cancer.
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Specifically, by its own admission the German BfR did nothing but regurgitate and launder the propaganda put out by the industry’s Glyphosate Task Force. The BfR then used fraudulent, industry-dictated methodologies to disparage the WHO’s procedure and falsely exculpate glyphosate. The EFSA then parroted the BfR’s whitewash, and the EU in turn will try to use this to justify re-authorizing glyphosate. The NGO suit is trying to have the GTF/BfR/EFSA fraud thrown out and force the regulators to start over.
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There’s one element of the regulator strategy to continue literally to force this cancer agent into our bodies.
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*Another element is what GMWatch hails as “a modest breakthrough” in the lies the European Union government is telling about glyphosate and other pesticides. Under stepped up pressure following the WHO’s 2015 finding that glyphosate causes cancer, such as the lawsuit I just mentioned, Germany’s BfR and the EFSA feel the need to go so far as to admit that maybe the commercial glyphosate formulations have some cancer risk. This was the only way they could try to assimilate part of the WHO’s finding while still politically exonerating glyphosate. One of the basic regulator frauds is to assess in ivory tower isolation only the so-called “active ingredient” in a pesticide and not the formulation which is used in the real world. In reality the terms “active” and “inert” have zero scientific meaning but are purely political, meant to facilitate this regulatory scam and fool people into thinking the dictionary definition of “inert” applies and that these ingredients are non-toxic. In reality these supplementary ingredients are there to render the primary ingredient more potent and therefore more toxic, and such supplementary ingredients as POEA (used in Roundup all over the world except in Germany itself, where it’s banned) are often more toxic than the primary ingredient. So a commercial formulation is actually far more poisonous by volume (in Poison Spring E. Vallianatos describes how one of the purposes of the active/inert scam is to greatly reduce the volume of poisons reported sprayed) and in its potency. (Not to mention synergy effects among the multiple poisons.)
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Now, under the spotlight of parliamentary questioning in anticipation of the upcoming vote of member states to reauthorize glyphosate in Europe for the next 15 years, the European Commission says it will start to think about revising its assessment procedure to include some account of the real world product and not the falsely isolated “active ingredient” which is used nowhere in reality. As the bureaucrat put it, “In the context of the regulatory system we are opening a new area of work. This is not something we have done a lot before, looking at the co-formulant, looking at the end product.” Looking at the end product, imagine that! What’ll they think of next? Actually they’re not really thinking of it now either, only about “a lot of concerns we have heard, including from MEPs and civil society.” As always only political pressure can make anyone do anything. As with the FDA’s promise to test for glyphosate residues in some food products, they’ll see how far they can get with just the announcement, how long they can delay actually doing anything, and then what minimal level of action will be sufficient to appease enough erstwhile “concerned” people. Cf. the new GMO labeling proposal below for a similar example.
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This is also meant to evade the Pesticides Law I mentioned above. The law applies to carcinogenic “active” ingredients. So if the EU can get away with blaming all the cancer evidence on tallowamine, it can claim that the continued authorization of glyphosate is legal as well as safe. But in fact regulators have known at least since the early 1980s that glyphosate by itself causes cancer. The fact that commercial glyphosate formulations are even more carcinogenic doesn’t exonerate glyphosate itself.
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*For an example of what these glyphosate co-formulants, these “inert” ingredients, actually do to our health, see the new study which measures the endocrine disruptive effects of the co-formulants of six glyphosate herbicides. The study found that the co-formulants by themselves as well as each of the formulations decreased aromatase activity (essential for balancing production of testosterone and estrogen) at doses far below standard agricultural uses. This is why there’s no safe “tolerance” level for pesticide exposure or ingestion: They’re all endocrine disruptors, and these effects occur at very low doses. Endocrine disruption in turn is a major cause of reproductive problems, birth defects, and cancer.
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*Given the standard operating procedure of regulators, it’s no surprise that the USDA muzzles scientists and persecutes those who adhere to the scientific method instead of the corporate science paradigm. Nor is it a surprise that the USDA concluded a review of this censorship process by congratulating itself and promising to stay the course. PEER, the NGO which has been organizing the pressure on this front, concludes, “Something now unmistakably clear is that no scientist in their right mind should report political manipulation of science inside USDA.” This is true, but the conclusion goes way beyond this. Something now unmistakably clear, if it wasn’t clear before, is that any citizen should recognize there is no science at the USDA, only corporate-dictated “science”.
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*I forgot to include legal immunity as part three of my regulator template. (See here for one of my many descriptions of this heuristic which I’ve found to be broadly applicable to all kinds of political phenomena.) Do you still believe now there’s such a thing as a “rule of law”?
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*BASF announces it’s rolling back the range of its genetic engineering projects. This follows the removal of its GE division from Europe to North Carolina a few years ago, a migration in search of a more favorable political habitat. If GMWatch’s take is right, this latest move sounds like Monsanto and BASF would not be a good match, since Monsanto can’t pretend to offer anything but more of the same genetic engineering hype which BASF may be gradually moving away from. Yet BASF was looking like Monsanto’s last chance to make the kind of diversification deal it needs. Monsanto needs to make a deal with someone who’s more product-diversified since it’s so dependent on Roundup, a product whose time may be running out. As we saw with Syngenta’s spurning of their suit last year, Monsanto may not have much that anyone else wants.
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*In news related to the sector calcification we touched on in the above item, here’s more fraud centering on the hype of genetic engineering. As with patent pumping in general, this is looking more and more like another stock-pumping scam. A few weeks ago I discussed how “hi-tech agriculture” is looking like another dotcom bubble in the making.
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*Purdue University is a liar. Monsanto publicists there have put out a fake “study” which claims to find that GM crops outyield non-GM. In order to obtain this result which runs counter to all prior evidence, they cherry-picked some answers from a USDA questionnaire which the agency itself said was completely unscientific, and then bogusly interpreted these extremely qualitative figures. Namely, they arbitrarily compared production figures for the variable “GMO” vs. “non-GMO” with zero knowledge of all other variables (such as fertilizer use) and fraudulently declared any differences to be caused by this variable. Anyone with a high school level knowledge of scientific method knows you can’t attain a result this way. But clearly Purdue professors never comprehended even this elementary concept. This kind of “science” is the norm under the corporate science paradigm.
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*Clearly nothing is more loathesome than what Republican propaganda consultant Frank Luntz dubbed “the patchwork”. Luntz’s term is now extremely popular among both Republican and Democrat types. Thus we have broad consensus, from Monsanto to Merkley: Monoculture good, diversity (and democracy) bad. They disagree only on some details.
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*Here’s a stark lesson in how the corporate system views the difference between real democracy, including real votes driven by the people, and the corporate-approved kangaroo elections being held this year for “president” and other corporate positions. In Washington the state supreme court is quashing ballot democracy in compliance with corporate demands. As the CELDF’s Mari Margil writes:
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“Let the voters decide.”

While we hear that slogan often – especially in a presidential election year – the truth is that at the local level, Washington voters rarely get to cast a ballot in their own communities on critical issues.

That’s because our authority to place issues directly on the ballot – through the citizens’ initiative – has been under siege by business interests affected by its use and by courts friendly to those interests.

In February, the Washington Supreme Court continued that trend, removing a citizens’ initiative from the Spokane ballot that sought to protect community, environmental and worker rights. In its ruling, the court declared that the people’s local initiative power isn’t really a right at all, but merely a privilege granted by state government to our communities….

More than a century ago, the people of Washington enacted the citizens’ initiative process to secure our rights to directly make law. With its recent ruling, the state Supreme Court effectively eliminated our authority to do so.

With the court’s action, going forward we should expect few, if any, local citizens’ initiatives – in Spokane or other communities across Washington – to be placed on the ballot for a vote. This includes in Tacoma, where opponents of the proposed methanol plant are seeking to place an initiative on the ballot to give residents the authority to decide whether to grant permits to large water users, such as the methanol plant, that seek to use more than one million gallons a day….

State governmental power exercised in this manner, of course, is nothing new. State governments guard their powers jealously, even to the point of forcibly preventing local communities from protecting their own people, workers and the natural environment….

Our state Legislature is not unique in seeking to preempt local governing authority, even when that authority is exercised to protect people’s rights to their own health and safety. Across the country, state governments have now eliminated the power of communities to ban hydro-fracking for natural gas, genetically modified crops, corporate water bottling operations, pipelines and other practices.

It’s precisely when we watch our elected officials restricting our democratic rights that the people need the initiative power more than ever….

It’s time to push back against the power of the state to tell communities what they can and cannot do. It’s time to recognize a right of communities to expand rights at the local level and to insulate the exercise of that right from the power of state governments to override it.

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Hostility toward participatory democracy and the technocratic lust for preemption of democracy is widespread and not limited to the corporations either. For example, this technocratic mindset is one thing upon which Monsanto and many GMO labeling advocates agree. As I mentioned above, nothing’s more abhorrent to monoculture believers of every sort than the “patchwork”, aka diversity, of ecology, democracy, and freedom.

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February 21, 2016

Under Pressure the FDA Says It Will Test for Glyphosate Residues In Food

Filed under: Dance of Death, GMO Health Hazards, GMO-Based Poison Infliction — Tags: , , , , , — Russ @ 4:59 am

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The FDA is required by law to test and regulate food additives. As part of the product design and intended use of herbicide tolerant GMOs such as the Roundup Ready system, pesticide residues such as those of glyphosate suffuse the cells of the crops including any eventual food products. These are food additives according to any reasonable definition. The same is true of the insecticidal endotoxins in Bt crops. The FDA has directly flouted the law in refusing to regulate these highly toxic additives or even to require their listing among the ingredients of food. One reason why the FDA has refused to test glyphosate residues is to help give it the pretext of ignorance. A surprisingly common excuse among regulators is to say in effect, “We can’t do anything, because we don’t have any information, because we refuse to test for that information (and reject it when others test for it and offer it to us).” Listen to what the likes of the FDA and EPA say and you’ll come across it frequently. So it is with glyphosate levels in food.
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But as the political pressure mounts against regulator dereliction and collaboration where it comes to pesticides, glyphosate especially, we see regulators scrambling to make weak or sham concessions. Wherever direct defiance is looking politically ineffective, the goal becomes delay at all costs. So it is with the FDA’s announcement that it will start testing glyphosate levels in food, forced in part by strong criticism from GAO auditors. The FDA’s lack of willingness is clear, given how it calls the matter “sensitive” and only now admits that such testing won’t break the bank. (Regulators claim glyphosate testing is too expensive, which is obviously a lie. They sure have lots of money available for subsidies and pro-industry advertising. But in any sane system which cared about science and public health the manufacturer would pay for but not control the testing.) Although in theory the FDA and USDA split the duty of testing for pesticide residues in food, with USDA testing meat and dairy, FDA fruits and vegetables, in practice neither tests for glyphosate precisely because it’s likely the most prevalent poison in the food, and is certainly the most commonly used in agriculture.
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Note the role of the EPA’s imprimatur in Monsanto’s PR statement (found at the bottom of the link) : Residue levels found so far have been below EPA tolerances. But EPA “tolerance” levels are set with zero regard for science or public health, but only at the behest of the corporations. EPA and other regulators mechanically raise the allowed levels to keep ahead of the residue levels the corporation expects based on how much of the poison it sells. Here we see part three of the regulator template – the nominally “public” regulator puts its imprimatur on what are essentially directives it received from the corporation. The corporation’s lies are laundered this way by the regulator, and the corporation then regurgitates its own lies but now represents them as coming from “the EPA”. (The very concept of setting “tolerances” in order to “manage” the levels of known carcinogens like glyphosate instead of banning them is also a core element of regulator propaganda.)
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To expose this ongoing propaganda scam and anti-scientific fraud is one of the motivations of the fourteen scientists who have published a report deploring the current pseudo-scientific state of regulatory assessment and calling upon regulators to act in accord with science and public health. The scientists condemn the false paradigm of regulatory assessment (rejection of epidemiological evidence, reliance on corporate laboratory experiments performed according to fraudulent methodologies, the long-debunked “dose-response” ideology, the “active ingredient” scam I discussed above, and other bogosities) and offer many suggestions for an improved testing regime. We abolitionists do not echo the rote call for “more testing” since we know there’s already far more than enough evidence to ban these poisons. But reports like this one are handy to demolish the fraudulent claims of the regulatory agencies that their assessment procedures are anything more or less than cover-ups and whitewashes.
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January 29, 2016

GMO News Summary, January 29th, 2016

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*The court decision refusing the EPA’s request that it temporarily rescind Enlist Duo’s registration is going to get its own post. For the moment I’ll point out that even if you don’t think the courts are corrupted beyond redemption, here we have proof that the law itself certainly is. If it’s true that the law is so calcified and maladaptive that it can’t react when a toxicity situation arises which is so dire that even the EPA wants to slow down and take another look, then that’s proof of a terminally busted system of law. We have to get it straight, in addition to all its de jure evils, this system does not work.
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*The fighters of Argentina continue to stand tall blocking Monsanto’s poison factory.
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*Here’s more on the attempt to partially repeal Oregon’s preemption law which was passed to crush the groundswell of county-level democracy action. One good paragraph concisely describes why it’s impossible for the state government of Oregon to make assertive agricultural policy which would be just, rational, or practical.
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So currently, although there are seven distinct geographical agricultural sectors in Oregon, each with different agricultural emphases, (for example, apples in Hood River, alfalfa in the Klamath Basin, brassica seed in the Willamette Valley), none of these sectors now have the right, either democratically or through a court of law, to address their own particular agricultural concerns, even regarding weed seeds. Can you see which way the wind is blowing?

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Imagine how much less possible it is for the federal government to be legitimate or rational in asserting itself over hundreds of distinct foodsheds and watersheds? When we ponder those who claim to care about food and agriculture but who still believe in federal power over these, only “better”, it sure looks like their level of knowledge and policy position is similar to Monsanto’s, only from a superficially different angle. What does this mean where it comes to NGOs and GM labeling advocates who want things like a preemptive FDA labeling standard or the “Food Safety Modernization Act”? (How’s that for an Orwellian name?) They’re just as ignorant as Monsanto and often as arrogant, only from a superficially different point of view. That’s one reason I don’t trust them to ever really draw a line in the sand and say “no further.” (For example the party line seems to be, “support preemption only if the FDA policy is at least as strong as Vermont’s”. I don’t believe they’ll hold to that, and since such an FDA policy is impossible anyway, because that’s not what the FDA does or wants to do, what’s the point of saying such a thing, other than to buy time for further triangulation?) Their underlying logic is basically the same as that of the corporations. Also in the clear fact that democracy in itself is no principle for them and has no value to them at all.
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A federal labeling law is the worst possible “solution”, since it’s guaranteed to be a preemptive sham, meant to lead in the wrong direction and waste time and resources we don’t have to waste. As the history proves, preemption never works the way so many people seem to want to hope and believe. The only point of it is to force the lowest standards. Otherwise why would any “stakeholder” want it? Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
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*Dueling Monsanto lawsuits, one as plaintiff, two new ones (two more of many) as defendant. Monsanto is suing California trying to prevent the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) from listing glyphosate on the list of carcinogens. This would impose some labeling requirements and restrictions on its use. Monsanto’s complaint is just a bunch of whining with no substance whatsoever. I’ll be writing more about this lawsuit separately.
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Meanwhile the city of Seattle has filed the latest lawsuit trying to force Monsanto to pay for a cleanup of the PCBs still ubiquitous in sediments of the city’s drainage system and the Duwamish River. Monsanto lied for decades about PCBs although it knew of their toxicity at least since 1937. A major reason for the corporate reshuffling Monsanto undertook in order to dump its industrial chemical division Solutia in 2002 was to try to unload its PCB liability. This hasn’t worked so far, though the penalties aren’t even in the same galaxy with what the company, its executives, its technicians and its salesmen deserve. And the Nuremburg-actionable lies continue still to this day. Just as the CEO of Solutia continued to lie for years, so Monsanto lies today:
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“PCBs sold at the time were a lawful and useful product that was then incorporated by third parties into other useful products. If improper disposal or other improper uses allowed for necessary clean up costs, then these other third parties would bear responsibility for these costs.”

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This is a direct Nuremburg lie. Monsanto has known since the 1930s that PCBs as such are extremely toxic. They cause cancer, birth defects, and horrible skin and organ symptoms. Over the 1950s-60s Monsanto accumulated very detailed knowledge and sought systematically to cover it up. See Marie-Monique Robin’s The World According to Monsanto for a detailed history of this and many of Monsanto’s other crimes against humanity. Monsanto adhered to this stonewalling strategy for decades. So it was Monsanto which lied to its customers and encouraged these third parties to incorporate the PCB product without warning them of what it knew about the danger.
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Finally, in California Brenda and James Huerta are suing Monsanto for giving them cancer through chronic long-term exposures to Roundup spraying while they lived on a commercial sod farm in the state’s Riverside County. Here the law is geared to protect the seller and the sprayer. Even if the US and California state governments recognized glyphosate as carcinogenic (as we just mentioned Monsanto is currently suing to prevent the state from recognizing it as such, while the US EPA denies it), it would generally be considered impossible to ascribe a particular case of cancer to the product. And if all else failed, Monsanto would try to claim the sprayer didn’t adhere to the label requirements for application. Farmer scapegoating is standard wherever straight lies and denial don’t work.
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These are reasons why the abolitionist position must be to impose strict liability on all manufacturers, sellers, and users of a poisonous product for all harms which come from it. In a legal sense they’re all part of one big conspiracy to promote cancer, and since it is usually not feasible to identify the “particular” culprit in a given case, all must be held equally responsible. I propose the same standard for pesticide drift effects, for any campaign against 2,4-D and dicamba GMOs. Strict liability first as a philosophical and polemical plank, wherever possible as a demand for legal reform, and always as the Nuremburg standard which must be imposed once we the people take back the power.
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So we have dueling lawsuits. Monsanto sues California for saying glyphosate causes cancer, citizens are suing Monsanto for giving them cancer, Seattle files the latest of many lawsuits because Monsanto systematically sickened and murdered people with PCBs and to this day systematically lies about it. The EPA, FDA, and USDA say Monsanto is a good, honest citizen. Who do you trust about Roundup?
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*More data on glyphosate residues in urine, as monitored over 15 years by Germany’s federal environmental agency. The levels are lower than EFSA “tolerance” limits, which means little. Regulators mechanically raise these legal levels in accord with how much poison the manufacturer expects to sell. In itself this is a strong indicator of the regulators’ poison-maximizing ideology. The procedure has zero scientific content and exists at all only as a political farce, to make it look like the regulator is “protecting” us. Scientifically, like all pesticides glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor which means it causes cancer and birth defects at ultra-low doses, and there is no safe level. The German agency also warned that formulations are far more toxic than glyphosate by itself. In other words, bad as this is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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*Here’s one thing that won’t wait for labeling to be gotten right over however many years that would take. If we don’t want to see the monarch butterfly go extinct within our lifetimes, we have to abolish glyphosate NOW. Anything else is just empty talk.
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There’s a new petition to the world’s most pro-Monsanto, pro-Roundup government, calling for better action for the monarch. Seems far-fetched, but it’s possible if there were enough of a groundswell on everything from monarchs to cancer, the system might be forced to sacrifice Roundup as long as it thought it could preserve the rest of the poison regime. But this will require a full-scale social movement toward this goal. (The goal of abolishing glyphosate must be part of the broader goal of abolishing poison-based agriculture, but we can also choose particular campaigns for special focus.) Things like petitions not rooted in a movement grounding will be blown off like the air they are. The prognosis is clear. Unless glyphosate is completely banned, it’ll be the end of the monarch. Americans are going to have to choose once and for all. What’ll it be, the monarch or Monsanto? You can’t have both.
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*Gilles-Eric Seralini has performed another of his thorough and damning analyses of GMO trial data. This time he analyzed the trial data and the subsequent veterinary records from the 1997-2002 dairy cow feeding trial in Germany with silage from Syngenta’s Bt176 maize. This was one of the ominous incidents in GMO history. The animals became badly ill, many died, the records were analyzed by Syngenta and the German government, and farmer Gottfried Glöckner sued the company. Although Syngenta has always denied the GMO had anything to do with the epidemic, it paid off Glöckner and pulled Bt176 from the market. Now Seralini, assisted by Glöckner, has analyzed all the records and concluded that Bt176 “provoked long-term toxic effects on mammals”. There are many anecdotal reports of similar epidemics stemming from diets with a heavy Bt crop proportion, among farm workers in South Africa and livestock in India.
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The action needed is not, however, “more testing” as Seralini calls for. He’s a scientist so of course that’s his first thought. But in fact this new evidence adds to what’s already conclusive proof – Bt-expressing GMOs don’t work and are dangerous to human, animal, and environmental health. They must be abolished, not tested over and over again forever. Every time I see the “more testing” call I wonder how much evidence would finally satisfy people. There’s far more than enough to satisfy anyone without a strong investment in the poison system itself, if that evidence is propagated competently and relentlessly and in the context of the affirmative Food Sovereignty idea. On the other hand, without this work even a hundred times as much evidence would be of little use.
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*Meanwhile the state government of Idaho is acknowledging a pesticide crisis. Here they let potato farmers apply methyl bromide, which of course suffused the soil. The poison then became part of the tissue of a subsequent alfalfa crop whose poisoned hay caused “deformities and sickness” in cattle which fed upon it. “Additionally, test samples of wheat, barley, potatoes, alfalfa, tomato, corn and straw grown on other treated fields also showed some level of bromide.” The state agriculture department told the legislature that the soil needs an emergency cleanup, of course asking for taxpayer money to be provided for the necessary research and work. To the great injury of the poisoning of our food and soil they now add the insult of expecting the people, not the criminals, to pay to clean it up.
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If GMOs tolerant of 2,4-D and dicamba are deployed on a large scale, the result will be this same quarantine of the soil and destruction of vast swaths of crops from the toxic drift. The whole thing, everywhere, sums to one vast moral insult. This insult shall never be made whole until we the people apply all moral force necessary to abolish these poisons.
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.*The Indian state of Karnataka is yet again having to prepare a farmer bailout after yet another Bt cotton disaster. This time the target pest, the pink bollowrm, simply feasted as if the two Bt toxins and neonics weren’t even there. Karnataka will yet again have to decide whether and how to demand the seed companies pay farmer compensation. Karnataka is one of the states most severely devastated by the suicide epidemic among Indian small cotton farmers. The state really ought to launch a transformation program away from commodity production and toward organic production, as fellow state Sikkim is proving can be done on a large scale.
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Another Bt cotton blunder may soon be history, as Burkina Faso’s farmers and seed dealers are abandoning the product. The country’s experience with Bt cotton has paralleled that of other countries, including the crop’s poor performance under anything but optimal conditions. Burkina Faso also experienced low-quality lint production even when the overall boll yield was good. This problem, which has also been seen in India, seems to be related to pleiotropic effects from Monsanto’s breeding its Bt cultivar into the pirated regional Burknabe variety. Here’s the latest proof of how imprecise and unpredictable genetic engineering is. It’s always a crapshoot. Monsanto is implicitly admitting this as it’s now frantically “backcrossing its Bt varieties into a new local cultivar.” But farmers seem to be fed up with the whole Bt cotton concept, as have been all non-rich farmers who ever tried to work with it. It’s a shoddy product, in addition to its health dangers.
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Food sovereignty and civil society campaigners are confident that Burkina Faso’s rejection of Bt cotton will help steel African resolve to resist this and other GMOs. The struggle continues in Kenya as farmer and civil society groups oppose proposals to lift the government’s moratorium on cultivation and importation of GMO products. In recent weeks the government has indicated it will soon approve cultivation of Bt maize, but missed a scheduled press conference. For more on the truth of the corporate-driven food insecurity in Africa which GMOs promise to make much worse, see here.
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*Canadian environmental groups Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society are suing the government to overturn a 2013 ruling which threatens to allow the grow-out of GM salmon under conditions exceeding those allowed by Canadian environmental law.
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*Much ado about the temporary retraction of a paper by Italian researchers documenting transgenic DNA fragments persisting in the tissues of animals fed GM feed. The retraction is on grounds of what the retracting journal calls an “honest error” involving the reuse of some images which had appeared in an earlier paper by the same researchers. The study’s basic findings remain intact. In a sign of how desperate the pro-GMO activists are, they whooped it up as if this technicality constituted some kind of evidence in their favor. The GMWatch piece does a good job detailing the hypocrisy and double standards of the GMO lobby and corporate media. In fact even if this particular study’s substantive finding were in doubt, it would be just be one drop retracted from a lake of evidence. GMWatch adds:
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Several years ago we at GMWatch were reprimanded by a government scientist (who was emphatically not anti-GMO) for our naive belief that we still had to ‘prove’ that GM DNA was detectable in the tissues of animals that ate GM feed. This fact, the scientist pointed out, was “not controversial and we have known it for a long time”. The only controversial aspect was whether such GM DNA had any biological effect on animals that was different from the effects of non-GM DNA.

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I think it’s time for the whole movement to be more confident about what’s been proven beyond any doubt and go from there, rather than imply we’re willing to keep running in place forever needing “more study”, as if we ourselves weren’t 100% confident in the existing evidence. Endless calls for “more data” are a classic sign of the Peter Principle in action.

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January 24, 2016

Three Good Actions and No Evil Actions

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A basic watchword for director Howard Hawks was that “A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes.” It strikes me that this is a reasonable expectation for those who claim to want what’s good for people and the environment. How about we phrase it, Three good actions and no evil actions.
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This is a supplement to my earlier post about what’s necessary and what’s insufficient. Unfortunately there will be the need for many reprises. To repeat the basic fact:
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There is one way and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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There is no argument which can be made against this fact, and anyone who tries to say it’s wrong or ‘complicated or that there’s some kind of workaround or shortcut or magic bullet is a fool or a liar.
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To call for the insufficient is always pointless and stupid and abets evil. Usually it’s actively evil, since it’s usually in order to shout down the call for what is necessary, as is the case with the pro-nuke liars and shills among false “climate change activists”, including former standout climate change activist James Hansen. As much as I appreciate Hansen’s years of work publicizing the climate change evidence and his civil disobedience against Keystone and elsewhere, this cannot justify an overtly evil action like shilling for nukes, any more than the alleged environmentalist history of Patrick Moore or Mark Lynas, if this history in fact existed, would justify or mitigate their current crimes.
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It’s clear that this is no passing lapse on Hansen’s part. He’s not someone who mentioned nukes in passing a few times as possibly part of the mix, though that too would be discreditable. No, he’s a systematic, aggressive, belligerent propagandist for the nuclear cartel, and therefore among the second type of climate change deniers, those who claim to care about climate change but really use it to shill for some kind of corporate welfare scam. Hansen was furious about the COP21 outcome, denouncing it as “a fraud” and “bullshit”. But contrary to what one might think, his anger wasn’t because the agreement was a complete fraud. No, he objected only because it included no “incentives” (i.e. new government subsidies) for nuclear reactors. I stress new subsidies since nuclear power, just like industrial agriculture, has always been 100% dependent upon corporate welfare, without which it would cease to function immediately.
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See the COP21 press release of the four “climate scientists” turned science deniers where it comes to the facts about the nuclear industry. This communication is quite peculiar in that it reads as a pro-nuke manifesto which mentions climate mitigation as an alleged fringe benefit, rather than a climate action manifesto which mentions nukes as an alleged potential part of mitigation. The emphasis is telling. (Of course, any Western establishment figure jaunting off to a secretive globalization cabal meeting like the COP21 to participate as an insider “stakeholder” or “expert” should be regarded with the highest suspicion. No chance of their kind standing outside with the real people who are forcibly excluded, like Southern indigenous and civil society representatives. For a true conference of the true people, see here.)
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Indeed, we see from nuke apologists like these the same types of vileness as from other corporate hacks. In this case we have lies about nuclear energy displacing fossil fueled generation, the fraudulent framing of options as being between fossil fuels or nuclear (where it comes to agriculture and food the false comparison is always industrial with industrial, monoculture with monoculture, poison with poison, never industrial vs agroecological, never poison vs. healthy), the standard fantasies about thorium reactors, and many others. We’ve all heard this form of corporate sloganeering before: “Safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power”. Just like for “clean coal”, fracking, “climate-smart agriculture”, and the similar slogans propagated by similar climate denialists. How about this from Hansen-Streicher on the absolutely intractable crisis of nuclear reactor toxic waste: “Nuclear waste: it is not waste, it is fuel for 4th generation reactors!” The ExxonMobil and Monsanto flacks are jealous of that one. Most despicably of all, Hansen spits on the dead of Chernobyl and those already dead or who will die from Fukushima.
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The industries that commit mass murder are the same who ravage the Earth including driving the global climate to insanity. The deniers and liars for the murders are the deniers and liars for the ecological ravage, no matter what front they put up. Anyone who doesn’t get by now that these are all peas in a pod and that the one and only climate solution is to greatly cut emissions, stop destroying sinks, rebuild sinks, those and nothing but those, is beyond help.
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Indeed, some of these shills seem to be fundamentally ignorant about even the basics of today’s nuclear deployment and the physical possibilities for its continuation and expansion. Needless to say, only an idiot thinks expanded nuclear energy could replace fossil fueled electricity generation instead of just adding to the consumption maw. That’s like believing corporations could ever want to “feed the world” even if it were economically possible for them to do so, which it’s not. The kind of person who wants to build more nuclear reactors is never the kind of person who actually wants to reduce GHG emissions and therefore energy consumption. It’s always the kind of person who wants for everything cancerously to “grow” forever. (“Growth” as the Western ideology envisions it is directly analogous to cancer in every way, from the brainless proliferation to the inevitable death.) It’s the kind of person who is cancer incarnate. I don’t know if Hansen is actually such a person – he didn’t previously seem to be so – or whether in his old age, worn down by all the struggles, he’s weakened and let himself be co-opted by the cancer people. Either way he now speaks for evil every time he says a word about nukes.
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Why do they feel the need to be nuke shills, even though this contradicts everything else they say about human health, GHGs, and environmental destruction? There’s always corruption. I don’t know if these “climate scientists” are getting nuke money the same way other scientists get money from Big Oil or Big Coal or the fracking industry, but the result is the same. Then perhaps there’s the crackpot notion which I often see phrased as “you can’t oppose everything”. I guess the idea’s supposed to be that you can oppose the US government’s wars in Iraq and Libya but not in Afghanistan, or something like that. It makes no sense to me, but that’s the logic. The moment one embraces this lie, or joins with it deliberately, one abdicates the entire cause and betrays it in principle.
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I’d say what has to be opposed is what needs to be opposed, whatever its extent. But in fact where it comes to climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (these are one whole and cannot be separated – whatever poisons also causes climate change, and whatever causes climate change also poisons) it’s not necessary to oppose “everything”, as there are superb alternatives available, starting with agroecology and decentralized renewable energy. When privileged system cadres and those who are still part of the shrinking Western middle class say they can’t oppose everything, they mean that they accept the Big Lie that their own extremely high-footprint lifestyles are sustainable in a way compatible with averting the worst of climate change and the rest of ecological destruction. In other words, in the end they join hands with the most unreconstructed Republican-type de jure deniers in believing the extremely destructive, privileged, expensive yet extremely cheap and shoddy Western “way of life is non-negotiable”, indeed is morally defensible, and propagate their lies accordingly. Ergo Hansen’s Patrick Moore-like lies and smears attacking environmental groups. Cowardly bullying shills are the same no matter which climate crime they’re shilling for.
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In the end we have the same old phony difference like the one between conservatives and liberals. Both commit and support the same crimes, but the latter are more likely to cry crocodile tears over it. Thus our liberal deniers will pretend to care about climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (once more, these are one whole and cannot be separated*) and even reject some sources of it, especially coal. (But many will temporize even there – “clean coal” and similar scams.) But they’ll then flip completely and support other vectors of destruction, such as nukes or corporate agriculture, where the latter are bolstered by the appropriate lies told to the ignorant.
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[*Nor can socioeconomic justice be separated from environmental redemption. All social injustice goes with ecological destruction, and all ecological destruction is accompanied by socioeconomic crimes. Environmental domination always goes with social domination, and often the former has the latter as one of its main purposes. The attitude of “man against nature” always goes hand in hand with man against man.]
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The same goes for traitor organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy which support corporate crimes and ecological devastation around the world. They do this not because they sincerely believe this is the best environmental outcome which can be attained. They do it because at best they want some environmental amelioration but only within the framework of continued corporate domination, which they assume also ensures their own luxurious circumstances. I say “at best”, though no doubt many of them are nothing but mercenary frauds who care zero about the Earth.
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All of these kinds of shills are part of what I’ve often described in these pages (most recently here), the template of “regulation” within the framework of corporate rule. Its steps:
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1. Corporate rule and the projects of corporations are normative and must go forward under all circumstances.
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2. A regulator, NGO, etc. may choose to try to ameliorate the worst “abuses”, or may just pretend to do so, or may actively assist the corporation’s worst crimes. Whatever it does, under no circumstances may it ever significantly hinder the corporate imperative.
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3. The regulator/NGO/celebrity type then goes forth, puts its seal of approval on the fraudulently “regulation”, “agreement” or whatever, laundering the fraud and the crime, and tells the people to stand down and go to sleep. It tells the people they can sleep easy knowing the “professionals” are in charge. Where necessary it snarls at them to STFU and stop questioning their betters.
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Do we the people really want to avert the worst of climate change and the rest of environmental destruction? Then we need a radically different template, one whose first principle is the opposite of the corporate template and whose second follows from it.
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1. Ending environmental destruction and building an ecological mindset and society is necessary and normative and must go forward no matter what.
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2. Given this framework, where it’s necessary we may take small steps, but each step must be along the vector toward the ecological and/or abolition goals. Under no circumstances can a retrograde step, a step which hinders progress along this vector, be practical or acceptable. So the one and only measure of the expedience of an action is whether or not it’s along the right vector.
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As a movement rises committed to this ecological principle and this strategic and tactical principle, its actions will speak for themselves and will need no fraudulent seals of approval.
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I’m sick of the seemingly omnipresent and infinite corruption of this Sodom and Gomorrah. In this City of Destruction all we see are the destroyers and the willingly self-destroyed. I’m not looking for the perfect in anyone, just a few good actions and no evil actions. So far that seems like too much to ask, and it’s definitely far too much to ask of anyone who’s part of the corporate system.
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Therefore the new ecological movement through which humanity and the Earth must come together to germinate and push up toward the sun must come from completely outside this system – outside its institutions and most of all outside its ideas. The system’s institutions and ideas are all modes and vectors of cancer, and it’s no accident that figurative cancer also kicks us in the gut most literally with a growing epidemic of physical cancer, the vast majority of it caused by agricultural and industrial poisons. There can be no safety there and no recourse. “Pick your poison” in the most literal sense, where that’s the best the likes of James Hansen and the WWF can come up with, is at best a confession of complete bankruptcy, exhaustion, and surrender. This is no direction to keep heading.
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There’s one way and only one way to honestly and constructively face up to climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks. This is congruent with abolishing all anti-ecological poisons, the only way to face up to all forms of ecological destruction and the only way for humanity to feed itself going forward. These are the only possible goals, since all other paths lead to the same death. The only possible goals then dictate the only possible actions.
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We have everything we need for the affirmative work. The ideas are fully developed, the science is fully proven, the practices are fully demonstrated and ready for global deployment. The new movement needs no special technology or nonrenewable resources or concentrated wealth or power to fully flourish and let humanity lead itself to health, vigor, prosperity, and fulfillment. It needs nothing but for the cancerous institutions, ideology, and practices to be abolished. These must in the end perish anyway, and Earth will heal itself and continue. The only question is whether humanity will assert itself in time with the necessary transformative actions. I know we can, and I write in the expectation that we will.
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